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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan presented the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s three years’ performance after assuming power in 2018, and stated that exports and foreign exchange reserves have been increasing despite the Covid pandemic.

Addressing at a ceremony to unveil his government’s three-year performance, the prime minister said that when his government came to power “the size of current account deficit was of $20 billion and now it is $1.8 billion, foreign currency reserves have increased to $27 billion from $16.4 billion, and tax collection at the end of previous government was Rs3,800 billion and it is now Rs4,700 billion, and these figures are real and not of former finance minister Ishaq Dar”.

He said that remittances stood at $19.9 billion when the present government came to power and now these have increased to $29.4 billion, showing more than $10 billion increase, “and the country should be thankful to the overseas Pakistanis for always helping the economy at a difficult time”.

The prime minister said that there has been an 18 percent growth in the industry, and sales of cement went up 42 percent, while farmers in agriculture sector got Rs1.1 trillion and consequently, a record sale of motorcycles, tractors, vehicles etc was witnessed.

The prime minister said that the present government was different from other governments and it was evident from the fact that during the entire PML-N tenure in Punjab, Punjab Anti-Corruption recovered only Rs2.5 billion, while during the the three years of the present government, the provincial government recovered Rs400 billion.

He said the NAB recovered Rs290 billion during the last 18 years before the present government came to power, whereas, during the last three years of the PTI government, it recovered Rs519 billion.

The prime minister said that disbursement to the low-income group was increased from Rs110 billion to Rs260 billion, and a uniform syllabus in education implemented.

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The participants were told that the GDP growth has increased to 3.9 percent, stock exchange is booming, exports have been increasing, foreign exchange reserves and remittances are historic, and the LSM, IT and construction sector are showing growth.

Two big dams are under construction and 10 more would be constructed in the near future, he said and added that the Clean and Green Pakistan campaign is in full swing and the country would become a tourism hub.

Additionally, the premier said, the government allocated Rs1300 billion for 14 districts in Sindh, nine districts of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan to bring them at par with other developed districts.

He said that most difficult situation for him was to seek money from some countries owing to challenging economic conditions the external liabilities had created.

The prime minister said that Kamyab Pakistan Program would be launched to support the poor through the bottom-up approach by providing interest-free loans to four million poor, technical ducation to one member of each family, health insurance, and mortgage loan for construction of houses.

The premier said that during the five years of the PML-N there was no growth in exports while agriculture remained neglected. The country’s entire reliance was on foreign aid, he added.

He said that the country’s debt can be repaid by exploiting tourism.

The premier said that the present government’s policy is very clear that it can become partner in peace and not in conflict, and would not allow itself to be used for any other country because Pakistan suffered in great amount by supporting US wars in 1978 against the then Soviet Union and after 9/11. What we need to learn that Pakistan will not allow itself to be used for any other country, he added.

The prime minister urged the international community to help bring about peace in Afghanistan as the Taliban have been trying to establish an all-inclusive government.

He said there are three slogans of the PTI: Insaf, humanity, and self-esteem.

He said due to absence of rule of law, money from developing countries was being sent to tax havens, so ‘’Insaf means bringing rule of law in the country.

As per a UN report, the prime minister pointed out, every year $1 trillion was being sent to tax havens from developing countries, primarily because powerful is above the law.

This has been the struggle the government has been waging for the last three years to bring everyone under the rule of law.

He said that is no short-cut to success and Quaid-i-Azam’s struggle in this regard is a great example for everyone.

There is a campaign going on that Taliban have succeeded in Afghanistan due to the Pakistan army, he said and added that a country collapses when its prime minister and ministers commit corruption.

He said had Saudi Arabia and other friendly countries not helped the country, there would have been immense dearness following fall of the rupee.

The prime minister said that he was in great pain after the political mafia started targeting the armed forces of the country, so that it could topple the government.

He said at times he also made some statements about army but had never criticized them so persistently as the opposition has been doing to remove the government.

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The prime minister said that it was a very difficult time for the country during the corona as everyone was pressurising to enforce a complete lockdown in the country as was done by some other countries but the government decided to take the difficult route, not to completely lockdown the country because it would have made the life of daily wagers and the poor very difficult.

The way corona was handled by the government the world community acknowledged it, the premier said while praising the role of the NCOC.

The prime minister said that he was concerned at rapid increase in sex crimes and use of mobile phone “which is flooded with so many things and many of which are difficult to handle…. It is one of the sources for increase in such crimes”.

The event started with a documentary showing the prime minister’s struggle after forming the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from 1996 to 2018.

The event was attended by ministers, provincial ministers as well newly-elected AJK prime minister and president as well as others.

The function was, according to moderator Faisal Javed being shown simultaneously in various cities including Gilgit, Quetta, Karachi, Peshawar, Multan, Hyderabad, and Lahore.

A 256-page report, wherein, performance of the ministries was mentioned was shared with the media through mail noted that the PIACL before August 2018 was at the brink of bankruptcy with an accumulated loss of Rs414.3 billion and was also on defaulter’s counter of the SECP List. 30 percent fleet of the PIACL was grounded and 40 percent ground equipment was also unserviceable. Furthermore, a special audit of last 10 years was conducted on the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which revealed many issues including corruption in medical, procurement, Hajj and Umrah groups, foreign postings, overstaffing, fake degrees, and ghost employees etc.

New infrastructure projects started with particular emphasis on the western alignment of the CPEC, which connects the most underdeveloped regions of Pakistan with Gwadar and the major urban centers of Pakistan. The first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under the CPEC became operational in Faisalabad in 2020. The second SEZ has been set up in Rashakai in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa by a Chinese developer, who is also responsible for marketing this SEZ to Chinese and other investors. The third SEZ is expected to become operational at Dhabeji in Sindh.

He said that the government completed more than 19,000 low-cost housing units during the last three years and so far Rs137.1 billion applications for low-cost houses have been received by the banks, and the Ministry of Planning and Development is ensuring infusion of resources from private sector projects worth Rs1 trillion under Public-Private Partnership Authority.

The report stated that around 105 water and hydropower projects worth Rs309 billion are sponsored/executed during the last three years whose completion will increase storage capacity by more than 8MAF, and Rs22 billion have been distributed among 18,000 youth under Kamyab Jawan Programme.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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